10 ways to celebrate summer the whole year round

The whirring of the tricycles in the streets signals the start of schools. When early in the morning children are ushered off to their schools, summer is officially over! But does it really have to end? We can extend the summer by getting involved in fun activities that remind us of summer.  This is a self-serving list because this documents what happened this summer- my summer.

If you have read my previous blog post, you know that have lamented over having a busy schedule. I reminded myself of what matters most: people. If somebody needs my presence, I try to be there. Nobody ever regretted not having time for work. Even with a full workload, I try to make the most of summer. These are the things I did last summer which are not really season-dependent, these things can be done all year round.

1. Take the road less traveled.

My cousin came for a visit and we went to visit her parents.  The house is located in an unpaved area of the city where tricycles refused to go so we just walked.

I welcome the green scenery and we found friends.  Quack! Quack!

2. Explore you  own city. 

This might be difficult to do in the streets of Metro Manila as pollution and traffic can easily wear you down. Try UP Academic Oval, Quezon Memorial Circle and La Mesa Ecopark. 😀

The ubiquitous orange tricycle is the king of the road in my city.

The ubiquitous orange tricycle is the king of the road in my city.

3. Enjoy the burst of colors in flowers.

Can you see the eensy weensy spider?

4. Chomp on street food and summer coolers.

Making tuhog2x the fishball. HA!

This is the ultimate summer food. Halo-halo!

5. Play with cute kids. My nephew grew fast.

6. Visit nearest pool.

We were back at Sprinkles and they have installed their water slides which gave us the license to act like kids. HA!

7. Attend a town fiesta!

May is fiesta time in Butuan and Gingoog! Yes, we were in both fiestas- the first one as a host and the latter as a guest.

This is the simple fiesta menu at home.

This is the simple fiesta menu at home.

  This is part of the dessert table at my aunt’s house in Gingoog.

 8. Vote!

I know you cannot vote all year round. heheh However, you can actively participate in the different issues in the country by letting your voice be heard even through social media.

9. Hit the nearest beach. In our case, we went out of town to… Camiguin! I will blog more about that trip. On the foreground is Camiguin’s White Island where you have to ride that boat to reach the island.  The volcano in the background is Mt. Hibok-Hibok. IMG_8370

10. Listen to music.

When it comes to music, I always ask my friend, Gail, for suggestions. She knows what’s hip (and not necessary popular). She mentioned this excellent guitarist, Igor Presnyakov. Nice!

Here he is playing my favorite, Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

How was your summer? summer

10 Reasons Why I Love My El Nido Resorts Holiday

I finally got to stay at El Nido Resorts’ Apulit Island Resort.  I still can’t believe I won that lovely vacation. Oh, my aunt and I still talk about our vacation. The people in house constantly hear us say, “El Nido this” and “Apulit that”. My aunt’s friend in Canada is now asking about the resort rates and inclusions. I already sound like an ad for the resort.

In my contest entry, I expressed my shame in visiting only 4 of the 7,100+ islands in the Philippines. With the trip to Apulit Island Resort, I have now proudly gone to a total 7 islands!  I know I still have to visit more but I am already happy with this small accomplishment. 😀

Let me just say that the Apulit vacation exceeded my expectations. These are the reasons why I love El Nido Resorts.

1.  I wanted to feel the sand on my feet, wind on my hair and water on my face. I got everything and more.  I learned to snorkel!  The Philippines is rich in marine biodiversity and I never got to appreciate it until I went to Apulit.  Even if I was not a swimmer (much more a diver!), I was able experience being around colorful marine life.  It is so beautiful  seeing corals and schools of fish first hand. I wish I had an underwater camera with me. So far these are the photos my snorkeling experience in Isla Blanca.


The Apulit boat waits for us as we snorkel. 

This is the beautiful sand on Isla Blanca. Don’t mind my ugly feet. HA!

2. The Apulit Island itself is beautiful. I can stare at the sight all afternoon from my balcony. When I went there, the sea was rough during the afternoon so I just lounged at the balcony. I often found myself mesmerized by the view.

3. There are several activities arranged by the resort staff.  If not for the bad weather, we could have experienced a picnic at the beach, more snorkeling at different reefs and windsurfing. Despite the bad weather, we still had our hands (feet and body, too) full.

This is the activity board which you can view activities for the day. The resort staff makes sure that you get to enjoy each activity. Actually, you do not even have to sign up for it. The resort staff already planned certain activities for you before you even thought about them. A guide will be with you in every activity.


The resort has wonderful guides who encourage you to try every activity. My aunt never expected to enjoy cave exploration but she did because our guide, Vlad, kept the activity interesting with interesting information.


We snorkeled at Apulit’s west beach. I found nemo here!


We weren’t able to go snorkeling at two different reefs because of the bad weather. They arranged a coconut hat making demo for us. I hope I remembered the steps on how make these hats. My aunt made her hat through the guidance of Chito.


Elmer made my hat and he added a bird on it! Cute!


We went kayaking around the island at 5:30 am to see the sunrise. Three guides had to wake up early to accompany us. We got three guides because we have a new Chinese friend who ‘kayaked’ with us.  Yes, a personalized service. Impressive!


We swam in their infinity pool.


4. The little things matter. We got good night messages on a leaf every single night along with heartwarming El Nido stories.


El Nido resorts support local farmers and weavers.

We got a welcome song and welcome snacks  where we arrived on the island.


Even as we leave, the resort manager and staff bid us goodbye.


5. The resort is a green resort. They make extra effort to take care of the environment.

Every room is provided with an eco-bag which guests are encouraged to bring around to avoid leaving trash while doing all the activities.  Guests are also encouraged to pick up trash they find around the island.


The resort has its own water treatment plant.

6. Each member of the resort staff is friendly. They never fail to greet us with their warm smiles and hellos whenever we meet them in the pathways. We did not even have to call on the waiter. Our plates are cleared as soon we are done eating each course. Our water goblets are refilled with water even before they ran out of water. They really anticipate our needs. The resort staff are multi-talented. They can weave baskets, kayak, teach snorkeling and share a lot of information about the island features.  They can identify birds, plants and marine animals.  They can even sing a few songs. Thanks to Aris, Angel, Roslyn, Arjun, Clark, Vlad, Chito, Elmer and their resort manager, Franck.  There are other resort staff and I may have forgotten their names.  I am truly proud to be a Filipino because of them. What a hardworking team!

7. I love my El Nido photos. I only own a 3MP point-and-shoot Canon camera. I still get beautiful photographs. It is not about my skills. The island is so beautiful that even with a phone camera with low resolution, I think you can still have beautiful photos.

8. I got my own Apulit post card. No, I did not buy this one. I took this photo while on the boat as we left the island.

9. This place is an ideal honeymoon destination and proposal place. On our last night on the island, a private dinner was arranged in one of the huts in the beach. Somebody proposed to his girlfriend. We got fireworks that night. It was a sign that she said yes!

That said, single girls can also have fun on the island. I met a new Chinese friend, Mia, who traveled alone to spend her holidays here. We had fun talking to her and arranging our activities together.  (Hi, Mia, if you are reading this!)

10. This vacation is truly a blessing. I feel that everyone deserves this kind of vacation. It inspires me to work harder to be able to afford an El Nido Resorts vacation.

Source: Uploaded by user via kat on Pinterest

 

Good to know Do you know that you can book your El Nido Resorts vacation through Agoda?  Agoda has a rewards program for their members. Every time you book your hotel through their site, you’ll earn points which you may use for your next vacation.